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Neurobiol Aging. 2009 May;30(5):769-81. Epub 2007 Oct 25.

Genetic priming of a proinflammatory profile predicts low IQ in octogenarians.

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The Centre of Inflammation and Metabolism, Department of Infectious Diseases and CMRC, Rigshospitalet, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Copenhagen, Denmark.


The purpose of the study was to test the hypothesis that single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) within interleukin (IL)-18, TNF-alpha, IL-6 and IL-10 gene promoter regions are risk factors for cognitive decline in healthy octogenarians, and to isolate the strongest inflammatory biomarkers of cognitive function in the peripheral blood. The Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale was administered to 112 individuals at ages 80 and 85. An IL-18 haplotype was an independent risk factor of poor Performance IQ. The TNF-308GA genotype was related to individual declines in Verbal IQ, and the IL-10-592 CC genotype was related to better Verbal IQ at the age of 80. Circulating levels of TNF-alpha, sTNFRs, and IL-6 were negatively correlated with IQ at age 85 and less strongly to IQ at age 80 with activation of the TNF system as the strongest biomarker. In conclusion, SNPs related to high proinflammatory or low anti-inflammatory activity are independent risk factors of reduced cognitive function in octogenarians. Only the IL-18 haplotype was associated with inflammation in the peripheral blood and only with regard to circulating TNF-alpha.

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